The 10 attractions at Disney and Universal that most need replacing
Yesterday in the evening round-up, I invited everyone to rate and review the theme park attractions
they've visited over the past year, to help us determine the winners of this year's Theme Park Insider Awards
. While we await the reveal of the winners, let's take a moment to throw the spotlight on the losers — some of the attractions that have sunk to the bottom of our readers ratings.
We'll start in Orlando. These are the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando attractions that Theme Park Insider readers collectively have selected as their picks for what ought to be replaced next in Central Florida's top theme parks. Granted, even the attractions at the bottom of our listings have some fans, so not everyone will agree that these places need to go. But it's hard to imagine that Disney and Universal couldn't do better with higher-rated attractions if it chose to give some other concepts a chance, instead.
The Magic Kingdom
Anytime we publish one of these "worst of" lists, it seems we always start with the same choice: Stitch's Great Escape. This overlay of the old Alien Encounter attraction (which was a refurb of the Magic Kingdom's Mission to Mars), loses points from Theme Park Insider readers for terrifying young Stitch fans while failing to entertain older visitors, who might be more inclined to enjoy Stitch's mischief. Not only that, but Lilo & Stitch is getting a bit old and doesn't seem to be enjoying the staying power of other Disney animation franchises.
TPI readers also vote thumbs down on the Tomorrowland Speedway. How telling it was when Disney announced the closure of the Walt Disney World Speedway, the old "Mickyard" in the MK parking lot, a lot of fans went online to express their excitement... only to turn around and end up even more disappointed when they learned that it wasn't the Tomorrowland kiddie cars that were closing.
Finally, we've got little love for The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, too. This Dumbo-like carnival spinner in Adventureland lacks the charm of the Fantasyland original, not to mention the more family-friendly wait system Dumbo now enjoys, too.
Theme Park Insider fans would love to see a complete reimagining of Future World's Imagination Pavilion. Well, we think we would. Given what happened the first time that Disney tried to revamp a major attraction in this pavilion — the infamous Journey Into Your Imagination debacle — some of us might vote to keep what we have rather than take our chances on something turning out worse.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
We can't wait to see what Disney's got in store for us on Pandora: The World of Avatar next year. And Disney's been hitting its marks with its many recent improvements to this park. (We'll give the Jungle Book show a pass in the hopes that Rivers of Light really will debut sometime later this year.) But if Disney wanted to just acknowledge that Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama never worked and rip the thing out, we'd consider that a strong example of addition by subtraction to Animal Kingdom.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Whatever we would have nominated here, Disney's already closed. No more suggestions.
Universal Studios Florida
Universal's California park might be getting an attraction based on The Walking Dead next month, but Universal Studios Florida has an un-kill-able zombie attraction of its own. Seriously, how has Fear Factor Live not closed yet? The NBC reality series that inspired it is long gone, so there's no corporate synergy at play here. Plus, this would be the perfect site for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Ministry of Magic, so let's just cast an Avada Kedavra at Fear Factor, shall we?
Our second choice for elimination at USF would be the Woody Woodpecker Kidzone. Yes, Universal Orlando is better with a strong, kid-focused land. But how much appeal do these franchises hold for today's children. As much as we love some of the stagecraft for the Barney show, this whole area needs a stronger theme. Hmmm, we hear that Universal has the theme park rights to Nintendo now....
Island of Adventure
Potter's already claimed so much of the old Lost Continent land, and with the Hogwarts Express chugging along next door, our readers say it's time to retire The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad. Maybe in favor of some Forbidden Forest attractions?
We can't wait to ride the newly retracked Incredible Hulk Coaster, but if Universal's committed to continuing its refurbishment of the Marvel Super Hero Island, we'd vote for Storm Force Accelatron as the next candidate for replacement. Followed by Doctor Doom's Fearfall. Universal set the bar so high with Spider-Man and Hulk that these two just suffer in comparison. Here's hoping that maybe someday they can be replaced by something that challenges Spidey and Hulk, instead.
Which Orlando-area attractions would you like to see up for replacement?
How did you leave out the horribly dated little mermaid Hollywood studios show and Ellen's energy adventure?
I agree with everything except for Dr. Doom. Sure I just rode the same exact ride at La Ronde (seriously they are both S&S space shots) I really really love drop towers. Also for Epcot add Universe of Energy and Mission Space.
Two thoughts on selections that I very much agree with: 1) I think that the ratio of Harry Potter attractions is perfect now and I would hate to see Universal Orlando turn into "Harry Potter Depot" and 2) Dr. Doom is the best! Sure the theming is sparse (I always use the express line anyway, so I've long forgotten the intended storyline), but I love the burst up into the air followed by the pull down every time.
Can they use Guardians of the Galaxy in Florida?
Epcot: Imagination, Energy, and The Land.
I think there could be a great Inside Out-style overly for the Imagination Pavilion. A lot of people don't like the idea of characters in Future World, but I think that would fit nicely.
The Great Movie Ride could really use some updates, new scenes...maybe some
It's called PhilharMagic, not Philharmonic. And it's a great 3D movie, I definitely want it to stay. Ditto with It's Tough to be a Bug. As for Dinosaur, replacing it with an Indy ride makes no sense because Indy has nothing to do with animals.
Philharmagic is old and the film looks washed out. Bugs is gone from California Adventure so why should it remain at Disney World (same situation for Muppets).
Sorry but how is Terminator not on this list. It feels dated and cheesy to say the least.
I think the Speedway has potential if it was made over for Tomorrowland and somehow connected to the future. I totally agree about Stitch, Imagination, and Chester and Hester. I'd add the Universe of Energy and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor to the mix. The former is out of date, and the latter is in the wrong park.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade really doesn't need to expand anymore. Universal should keep the mix of having nonIPs and IPs by expanding the Lost Continent and retheming Marvel Superhero Island. Also worth noting are the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Tomorrowland Speedway and Buzz Lightyear at Magic Kingdom; Universe of Energy, Wonders of Life, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Circle of Life at Epcot, and Kali River Rapids, Wonders of Flight, and Dinoland U.S.A's carnival side, and It's Tough To Be A Bug at Animal Kingdom. And Anon Mouse, the Indy franchise isn't based around animals; they're usually placed as obstacles or help depending on Indy's situation.
I love Dr. Doom. Remarkable three seconds zooming to the top. The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad stunt show is terrific. Totally agree that Stitch and Fear Factor need to go...
Tomorrowland speedway takes up so much room! There could easily be an amazing E ticket attraction in its place.
As I haven't been to Florida yet, my answer is don't remove anything. However, analyzing this from an outsider perspective, I'd say the following:
After finally viewing Sindbad last month, I agree that it should absolutely get re-worked. There was some good stuff in there, but it's really difficult to get through without rolling your eyes. Same for Fear Factor.
Now that Shanghai is done, let's see some new stuff at WDW! Speedway and Stitch must go! The amount of space the speedway takes up is egregious, and closing it wouldn't adversely affect the flow of the park.
cant disagree with any of it apart from dr doom when u drive upto universal its the thing u see from afar i think it just wants updating maybe last a bit longer than go up and down once
Epcot: The whole of future world is a mess. It needs a new theme.
Bugs is gone in DCA???
Redo Epcot's Universe of Energy with the same "time machine" story, going from the Big Bang to today without forgetting the dinosaurs, but with a Pirates Shanghai style makeover... OK, just dreaming...
Forget Dinland USA, the entire land is one of the most complete theme park lands anywhere. 2 Quick service, Snack location, an amazing e-ticket with a unique WDW ride system (I'm also a huge Indiana Jones Adventure fan), a thrill ride, kids spinner, kids play area, and a midway. The Land Pavilion and tomorrowland are the only other two lands that come close.
Kali River Rapids absolutely must be replaced with an attraction at least as good as Grizzly River Rapids in California.
What about Poseidon's fury or whatever its called? and how is shrek 4d not on this list.
The whole of Future World in EPCOT needs work. Bring back the educational, uplifting, and ambitious rides!
I know this is East Coast focused, but we out here at Disneyland have been surveyed by Disney repeatedly for what needs refurbishment the most. The winner is always Tomorrowland. It is truly the worst - from the old 70's mall styled queue at Space Mountain to the 3 floors of nothing that is the Innoventions building, to the decades abandoned People Mover track. What was Disney's answer? They went cheap - turned Innoventions into a Star Wars gift shop, meet and greet, and turned the lights down even lower and swapped out the soundtrack in Space Mountain. After blowing $5 billion on Shanghai, I think Disney could have floated some of that money to at least demolishing the People Mover track, Innoventions bldg and improving the Space Mountain queue -taking it from Yesterland to Tomorrowland. One more for the West Coast - USH - please get rid of WaterWorld - that shouldn't even have to be said. And start building Diagon Alley, the WWoHP needs more than 2 rides. Thank you! Sorry to crash the East Coast party :)
Folks keep mentioning Universe of Energy and agree an Ellen-less update would be nice. However, I think its continued popularity is less due to content and more on how, on a hot summer day, some folks enjoy a place they can sit for 40 minutes in the cool and some light entertainment. An update would be good, more of today's energy needs but keep the cool dinos, the kids always love those and still a good long attraction to enjoy.
AJ called it on Animal Kingdom. If any park is perfect for a "Zootopia" attraction, that is it. Maybe a take-off of the Potter ride where the train has screens showing the Zootopia world with all the environments? And the "Planet Watch" camp can be redone to show some of the real animals inspiring the movie and animal care stuff but still entertaining for the film.
Speedway is still popular with kids. Little boys love the first time they can push the gas and steer all on their own. Would be nice to update ad be electrical rather than gas powered, but it does fill a need for young boys.
PhilharMagic is one of my favorite attractions at Magic Kingdom, and any Disney Park. I find the scenes enchanting and the visuals are as crisp as any I've seen in other attractions. I could not disagree more with Anon Mouse about PhilharMagic as it consistently is one of my favorite experiences at any theme park. As for the speedway, I agree it should go as should Dino-Land at Animal Kingdom.
It was breaking news to me that Fear Factor still existed at USF! I'm assuming they're just fresh out of bulldozers with the rest of the construction going on there.
With the new Fantastic Beasts franchise begining late this year and a high probability of doing well at box office world wide, Universal may already be planning an attraction for it, as they are doing for The Secret Life of Pets.
At Magic Kingdom = Tomorrowland
188.8.131.52 is right: Speedway is popular with kids. My son had such a great time when he did it. But now that is has grown up, he's more into roller coaster, Mission: Space, Test Track, Star Tours or even classics like Haunted Mansion. But Disney needs rides for all ages even ones focused on a certain age range. Still, a makeover of Speedway with electric vehicles will allow a sustainable message (Disney loves that type of message) and also will avoid the annoying sound of the motors as well as the gasoline odor... Could be done trackless with a safe system keeping automatically the vehicle within a given track. Technology for that already exists.
Right on in every part. Let's get rid of The Imagination pavilion in Epcot and build Tron Light Cycles themed around computer science. Let's also open Wonders of Life with an Inside Out overlay.
For parents with kids who love the Tomorrowland Speedway... allow me to suggest a visit down I-4 to Legoland Florida and its infinitely superior Driving School. If your kids love fake-driving cars at WDW, they'll be over the moon actually driving cars at Legoland.
Disney rides have become old fashioned. When they first were introduced, they were state-or-the-art. Futuristic! But after years, they become good-old rides. After many years, they're ancient. When Exxon stopped sponsoring the Universe of Energy, it should have been scrapped. Stitch is good, but... The Great Movie Ride is good, but it doesn't hold my attention. Tough to be a bug is still new enough to be good. DL is good, but has outgrown it's venue. Maybe a new Disney Complex could replace the West Coast park.
What I'd like to change is cutting back on the shopping. Not cutting it out, just cutting the over-abundance of shopping. The MK doesn't even have a Magic shop any more. But main street isn't the only shopping area, every land has a huge number of shops. HS is covered with shops... And now, DS (Disney Springs) is full of shops. OK, I like buying stuff. How about a shop for Made in America? They said that the American Adventure stuff is all made in the USA. I pointed out that some books are "printed in China", but are listed as published by Prentice Hall. "Published by..." and "Printed in..." aren't the same. I'm not impressed. I couldn't find a single Trading Pin made in the US. These things can't be costing Disney more than a dollar to make and sell for $8-15 each.
Bring back the old test track OR make it into the Cars ride that California enjoys.
Shrek 4d needs to go bye bye. The next one while I wouldn't get rid of it, an overhaul is in order:Rock n Roller coaster with Aerosmith.... Either overhaul it to be about the rock genre as a whole or find a new band that is still relevant... More so than Aerosmith that is.
While I love the opportunity to play Theme Park Mogul, it seems that personal preference will always dictate whether you want an old favorite (in my case, original Future World, Magic Carpets, and Countdown To Extinction) or a pie-in-the-sky, money's-no-object reimagining. Yes, I'd love every EPCOT pavilion to have its own attraction. But how about merely utilizing every abandoned/forgotten building that's already there? Please, invest in a permanent solution (not demolition) for the long vacant Wonders Of Life building. Do something worthwhile at the Innoventions buildings. Laugh Floor? Might as well be a lounge for hot and thirsty guests. Create something that exists for some reason beyond selling tie-in merchandise and keeping IPs on life support until the next sequel.
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